Here’s why Siri on Apple TV only supports eight countries so far

By , Nov 4, 2015

Apple TV Siri Show me something new

The new Apple TV ships with the same remote everywhere but Siri on the set-top box is only supported in these eight languages and countries: English (Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, German (Germany), French (France), Spanish (Spain) and Japanese (Japan).

Why is that? After all, Siri on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad support the most basic features in a total of 29 countries, as per Apple’s iOS Feature Availability webpage.

Based on an interview that the German-language blog MacPrime conducted with several Apple TV project managers, it’s all about the differences in the pronunciation of actor names, films and directors in various countries. But rest assured, Apple is already hard at work on training the Apple TV’s Siri for additional countries.

It’s about phonetic speech

By putting a special emphasis on television shows and movies, Apple engineers simply wanted to avoid using American pronunciation of film titles, actor names and more in non-English speaking countries, thus limiting Siri on the Apple TV to a handful of countries.

Making things more complicated, Hollywood studios typically market their movies in various countries using locally-adapted movie titles, meaning their correct pronunciation differs wildly depending on the country or region.

These phonetic differences are the chief reason that Apple has made the decision to limit Siri on the Apple TV to a handful of launch countries. This isn’t a major issue on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad because movies and TV shows are not the central part of the experience on these devices.

Apple TV Siri Movies with Jason Schwartzman

Apple TV Remote: the naming hell

I’m not sure that an average Apple TV buyer is aware of Siri’s limitations on the device and Apple isn’t exactly helping much to avoid user confusion either.

For instance, in the eight countries where Siri is supported, the company is referring to the Apple TV’s bundled remote as the Siri Remote. Elsewhere, it’s called the Apple TV Remote. Confusingly enough, the white and aluminum remote that ships with prior Apple TV models is also officially called the Apple TV Remote.

Hey Siri, show me something new!

At any rate, Apple’s explanation for limited Siri support is plausible, if not totally logical. More importantly, it’s now fairly safe to assume that Apple will expanding Siri on the new Apple TV to more countries with future software updates.

In fact, the article states that Apple TV engineers are already collaborating with Siri’s speech specialists to learn movie and TV show pronunciations in other countries.

Source: MacPrime (Google Translate) via 9to5Mac

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • Toshke

    I have an additional problem. I am Belgian (I speak Dutch), I live in Spain and all my devices are in English. just prefer it that way.
    So the only way I can use Siri is when I set location and language in Spanish. Only way to have menus in English and English Siri,is using an American iTunes account, so I would be switching accounts back and forth each time I want to buy something from the appstore…

    • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

      you can change your apple id to spain, then that’ll set your device to that location and language. You just need to have 0 dollars on your account to change the region.

      • Toshke

        I have to use my Spanish ID to be able to buy stuff.
        I have a USA account with no credit card information attached to it.
        But I don’t want to be swapping accounts 10 times a day just to be able to use Siri in English.

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        I see, can’t you just use siri on your spanish ID, then change her voice language?

      • Toshke

        Nope. Only works when both region and language are set to Spanish.

  • Martynet

    I want apple trailers app

  • Ohh, the Apple TV Remote is same as Siri Remote? Just the name is different, so it has the microphone and siri button? Then I guess if we set the locale to any of the supported countries it’d get enabled.

    • lemonhead

      no it’s based on your itunes account, it’s a damn shame!

      • Still good, I thought the “Apple TV Remote” won’t have the Siri button and microphone, so no chance to have Siri any way.

        Now that siri is only limited to Movies, TV Show and some other searches, it’s still not a loss for unsupported countries, but when in future update, Apple expands it to have more iOS like usage, most importantly dictation (coz typing on virtual keyboard would be a mess) it’d be a big loss to not have it.

        I also hope that the iOS remote app have a feature using which we can type in TextFields via iOS keyboard, but this is highly unlikely that Apple will support this feature.

      • Ethan Humphrey

        I don’t think the keyboard in the remote app is highly unlikely. Apple does this with the current remote app with 2nd and 3rd gen TV’s

      • Ohh they do? Awesome. Didn’t know about it, as I don’t have to older Apple TV. Planned to buy the 4th Gen as soon as it launches in India.

  • sjdee

    Yeah, sure. That totally explains why Germany has the Siri Remote and Austria doesn’t. It’s not like we speak Austrianish – we speak German too. I guess Apple doesn’t know that. So no, that does not explain why only a few countries got the Siri Remote on launch. Not even a little bit.

    • lemonhead

      same here for Switzerland…
      and i think it’s catastrophic that you can’t just put any language you want to talk to siri either..

      • Kyle

        Yeah but u both countries speak German like ****. So I guess Siri won’t work, neither with the Bavarians.

      • lemonhead

        but my dad is german, so i have no accent at all. So in conclusion this is just a stupid move on apple’s part

      • Kyle

        Hm ok dann sind Sie halt ne Ausnahme. Aber selbst für die meisten Deutschen ist es schon sehr schwer, gerade das schweizer Deutsch zu verstehen. Oft sind im TV schweizerdeutsch beinhaltende Sequenzen mit Untertiteln versehen. Wie soll dass dann eine amerikanische Spracherkennung machen, die auf ne deutsche Aussprache von Namen/Titeln ausgelegt ist.

      • lemonhead

        Und jetzt?
        Das hat doch absolut nichts damit zutun, ob ich mit dem Apple TV auf Englisch Deutsch oder Französisch kommunizieren möchte. Es gibt heut zutage zu viele Menschen die zwei Bürgerschaften haben oder bilingual sind um solche Restriktionen noch rechtfertigen zu können.

      • Kyle

        Ja nur ich glaube was Apple vermeiden will sind massenhaft Beschwerden, weil bestimmte Siri die Anfragen bei einigen Dialekten nicht oder nur falsch versteht. Da lässt man es wohl lieber weg.

      • sjdee

        Schon mal was von Hochdeutsch gehört? Stell dir vor, das gibts auch im kleinen Österreich! Und in ganz Deutschland gibt es natürlich keine Dialekte, nein, außer in Bayern (weil das sind ja auch keine richtigen Deutschen, das weiß ja jeder). Und in Amerika oder Großbritannien, da gibts auch keine Dialekte. Natürlich nicht. Da spricht jeder gleiches Englisch. Das ist doch selbstverständlich. Apple schei*t einfach auf die verhältnismäßig kleinen Märkte wie Schweiz und Österreich. Das hat nichts, aber auch gar nichts mit dem Dialekt zu tun. Wenn ich meine System- und Siri-Sprache auf Englisch stelle (was sie bei mir übrigens ist, ich weiß, kaum zu glauben), dann kann ich die Siri-Remote mit dem österreichischen Apple Store trotzdem nicht nutzen. Was also hat das mit dem Dialekt zu tun? Genau – NICHTS

  • Max Resch

    But we in Austria speak the same language as in Germany and we are not allowed to have Siri on our Apple TV 4

  • Gosh it would be nice if Siri could handle a Youtube search, or even support dictation

  • Well, if Austrians and Swiss-Germans can’t use it because of their accent, what about those from Alabama, Texas ….??? Could you ever understand someone from downtown London? Apple should not make a difference for Austria and Switzerland.

    • sjdee

      That’s exactly my point. This has nothing to do with accents, this is just Apple being a dick. Maybe there are licensing issues, but frankly, I don’t care. I pay the same price in Austria for the new Apple TV as I would in Germany, so why can’t I use all features even though the capabilities are already there?